We had the good fortune of connecting with SJ Fuerst and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi SJ, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I enjoy painting and making things, so it was an easy and natural career choice for me. I love having the freedom to come up with something new, and in fine art there are no restrictions so I have complete freedom to follow my interests and instincts. When I’m not in the studio painting I like thinking up new ideas and problem solving my next paintings. I’ll admit I’m a bit obsessive about my work, but I imagine that’s a common trait among artists and probably what it takes to become successful.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work is best described as classical figurative painting that celebrates funny, cheap, mass-produced items (often pool toys). I’m most excited by the fact that all these amazing inflatable toys exist, and that I’ve found a way to enjoy them as an adult and on a daily basis without looking too insane. I’ve gotten to where I am professionally by staying true to my artistic vision, and then working very hard to learn the skills to make the best art I can. It’s not easy, and there are many disappointments along the way, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned is just to keep at it. Keep pushing yourself to do your best work, keep exhibiting, and keep trying to get your work out there. You will find people who connect with your art, and that’s a big first step in making it as a professional artist.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Gozo, the whole island is beautiful! One of my favorite places to visit is the Cittadella, from the top you can see the entire island and get a coffee (my favorite places tend to involve coffee). It’s also a lot of fun to hire a boat and spend a day sailing around the island. Gozo is pretty small but there are many beautiful caves and bays to explore, especially if you enjoy snorkeling. There are some fantastic galleries here as well; I definitely recommend popping over to Malta to visit Lily Agius Gallery in Sliema, and Arthall gallery here in Gozo, they work with really interesting artists.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my partner, Luca Indraccolo. He is an amazing painter whom I met while we were studying together at an atelier in Florence. I’m so lucky to be living with someone who is extremely talented and understands what it takes to be an artist. We inspire each other, push each other, help each other, and keep each other just grounded enough.